I know better, I know I shouldn’t look. I’m an adult, I’m in my mid(ish) 30s, I’ve had the internet since I was in junior high, I’ve been on social media for over a decade. I know I shouldn’t read the comments, but I do, we all do. Regardless of our inside voice screaming at us not to do it.
I’m a medical professional, I’m a parent, I’m the parent of a child with an invisible disability; all even more reasons I shouldn’t read the damn comments, but I can’t help myself. I should listen to my inside voice more, she’s actually pretty reasonable and gives good advice. My inside voice wants to decrease the hurt and the anger that arise when I read the comments — she just wants to protect me. I just want to protect my kid.
The latest reminder to not read the comments, stems from a recent article CNN posted with the headline “40 million people with diabetes will be left without insulin by 2030, a new study predicts”. I’m not going to get into my true feelings about this article and access to insulin — the insanely high list prices, that just keep increasing; the oligopoly by 3 pharmaceutical companies that will be allowed to continue to exist; the greed by pharmaceutical companies, insurers, and PBMs with backdoor deals and kickbacks — it will actually be the people who will not be able to afford insulin, they won’t have access (and my kid will only by 17 in 2030, still in high school, still not old enough to vote, still a kid — by all definitions). I looked, I couldn’t help myself and as I read the comments, the sadness started and then the anger began to boil over. SO many comments about people giving themselves diabetes; about diet and exercise and complete blame and shame to those living with diabetes. These adults show zero compassion or empathy, they wouldn’t dare make the same claims about people living with cancer, or Alzheimer’s or any other disease. But once again, people think it is OK to make fun of and blame people who have diabetes. “Oh, not the bad kind where kids give themselves shots. I’m obviously talking about adults.” Guess what people?!? There is no cure for diabetes — kids with type one diabetes, grow up and become adults with type one diabetes. There are so many subsets of diabetes that have been discovered, type one and type two don’t even begin to touch it. And all types of diabetes have underlying causes that stem way beyond “just watch your diet”.
Honestly, I want society as a whole to show more empathy in general, it’s probably exactly what our world needs. More understanding and showing others some grace, simply being better humans. And I just want to protect my kid. I want her to not be made fun of for something that was completely out of her control; a chronic, invisible disease that made her body attack itself when she was only 2 years old. A disease requiring man made insulin injected daily to sustain life. A disease that we have tackled head on as a family. I’ve been her fiercest advocate from day one and will continue to spend my days educating, correcting myths, and fighting insurers and durable medical equipment suppliers on her behalf — until one day, it becomes her burden, but she will know, she will never face any of it alone. She has one hell of a support system. Near and far, there are people who love her, learn from her, and will fight to protect her. What breaks my heart and awakens the mama bear inside, is that one day she is going to grow up and she is going to read the comments.